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KEXP Counts Down Best Albums Ever (to be great)

Posted by October 6th, 2008 No Comments »

90.3 KEXP’s Best 903 Albums Ever
How We Voted

Seattle’s totally awesome and massively influential independent radio station KEXP is taking on the unenviable task of producing a “best albums” list. Listeners registered their ten all-time favorites on the organization’s website; now the station is counting down the top 903 during their fall pledge drive.

With the Rolling Stone and other notable lists quickly aging, this is great news for music dorks everywhere. We’re nearly a decade into to the 21st century and its time that platters like Stankonia, Funeral and Yankee Hotel Foxtrot were given a fair shake alongside the likes of Abbey Road, Exile on Mainstreet and Blonde on Blonde.

To whet your appetite for the hotly anticipated climax of this historic countdown, we asked some of our resident music dorks how they voted.

Chuck Halophile, Contributor 

June of 44 – Engine takes to Water
Slint – Spiderland
Unwound – New Plastic Ideas
Pavement – Slanted and Enchanted
Elliott Smith – XO
Guided by Voices – Isolation Drills
Jawbreaker – 24 Hour Revenge Therapy
Modest Mouse – Lonesome Crowded West
M83 – Don’t Save us from the Flames
Why? – Alopecia

Dan Lurie, Blogger

Bell Biv Devoe – Poison
Weezer – Pinkerton
Trashcan Sinatras – I’ve Seen Everything
Elliott Smith – Either/Or
Wilco – Being There
Hall & Oates – Abandoned Luncheonette
Bobby Brown – Don’t Be Cruel
Aislers Set – Terrible Things Happen
Super XX Man – Volume IV
Richard Swift – The Novelist

Aaron Semer, Wedding Singer

This is extremely difficult and potentially damning.  I feel pained that some of my favorite bands will have to be left off of here – Fugazi, Flaming Lips, Pavement, Captain Beefheart, Calexico, Wilco, The Boss.  I also have a lot of favorite hip hop albums, but I guess when push comes to shove, none of them make my Top 10.  What can you do?

Lucinda Williams – Carwheels on a Gravel Road
This is what a perfect album sounds like. She never topped it before or after. Some of my favorite lyrics ever – simple and highly evocative.

Tom Waits – Rain Dogs
Such a visual, atmospheric record. You’re immediately in another world. I think it’s Waits’ best.

Led Zeppelin – II
Craziest first song on an album, EVER. Serious risk-taking throughout.

Neutral Milk Hotel - In the Aeroplane Over the SeaThe Beatles – Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band
Maybe an obvious choice, but I don’t think any album has changed the world more than this one.

Talking Heads – Sand in the Vaseline
I know it’s technically a double disc greatest hits, but they were just so good all the way through their career. If I had to pick one album, it’d be Speaking in Tongues… or Remain in Light.  But I can’t.

Neutral Milk Hotel – In the Aeroplane Over the Sea
“Most albums, I can put on and do other things while I listen. But I can’t do anything else when I listen to that album.” – My girlfriend.

Radiohead – OK Computer
The closest thing my generation has to Sgt. Pepper, I think. When this came out, everyone rushed to copy that sound. No one fully succeeded. I think this is the best musical statement about the isolation felt through modern technology.

Aphex Twin – Richard D. James Album
No album changed the way I thought about music and sound more than this one. Heavily imitated to this day.

Guns N’ Roses – Appetite for Destruction
I’ll never forget the first time I heard “Sweet Child O’ Mine,” or the way G’n’R made me feel as a child – scared and excited at the same time. They were my first true rock and roll experience, my mom hated them, and this album is one of the only ones from that era that still holds up today and seriously kicks ass.

Solomon Burke – The Very Best of Solomon Burke
Solomon Burke didn’t release albums back then, he only released singles, so you have to excuse this Best-of compilation.  All of the Atlantic Soul, when Ahmet Ertegun and Jerry Wexler were producing, is genius.  I think “King” Solomon is the best. So beautiful and powerful.

Matt Brown, Pretty Big Deal  

The Only Two Albums Matt Brown Enjoys Listening To In Their Entirety:

The Dead Boys – Young, Loud and Snotty
Scratch Acid – Just Keep Eating

Sybil Rohlf, Staff Writer  

Wilco – Yankee Hotel Foxtrot
White Stripes – White Blood Cells
Outkast – Stankonia
Old 97s – Too Far to Care
The Von Bondies – Lack of Communication
Neko Case – Furnace Room Lullaby
Beastie Boys – Check Your Head
Nirvana – Nevermind
Pixies – Surfer Rosa

Marah - Let's Cut the Crap and Hook Up Later on TonightGabe Baker, Founding Father

Marah – Let’s Cut the Crap and Hook Up Later on Tonight
Bob Dylan – Tangled Up In Blue
The Clash – London Calling
The Replacements – Let It Be
Van Morrison – Astral Weeks
Rolling Stones – Sticky Fingers
Prince – Purple Rain
Guns n’ Roses – Appetite for Destructin
Elliott Smith – XO
Beatles – Abbey Road

Red “Ginger Balls” Lehman, Staff Writer

Wilco – Summer Teeth
Everclear – World of Noise
Quicksand – Slip
NOFX – Punk in Drublic
Ned’s Atomic Dustbin – Godfodder
Idlewild – 100 Broken Windows
Van Halen – Van Halen
Soul Coughing – El Oso
Richard Buckner – Since
Prince and the Revolution – Purple Rain

I also want to mention that LLCool J’s “Jack The Ripper” is one of the best rap songs ever.

Tyson Lynn, Elusive Sprite

Neutral Milk Hotel – In the Aeroplane over the Sea
Nina Simone – Nina at the Village Gate
Neko Case – Blacklisted
Jeff Buckley – Live at Sin-e
Low – Things We Lost in the Fire
Willie Nelson – Red Headed Stranger
Velvet Underground – Loaded
Tom Waits – Nighthawks at the Diner
Black Star – Black Star
James Brown – Ballads

Barry Bob The Nuge Vail, Presumptive Rookie of the Year

Boby Dylan – Highway 61 Revisited
Beastie Boys – Paul’s Boutique
Nirvana – Bleach
Beatles – Revolver
De La Soul – Is Dead
Wilco – Yankee Hotel Foxtrot
Replacements – Let it Be
A Tribe Called Quest – The Low End Theory
Johnny Cash – At Folsom Prison
Led Zeppelin – Led Zeppelin

It’s so hard to debut with my favorites so here’s an alternate list for the hell of it.

Aretha Franklin – Lady Soul
The Band – The Band
Frank Zappa – Apostrophe(*)
Minutemen – Double Nickels On the Dime
People Under The Stairs – Question in the Form of an Answer
Built To Spill – Perfect From Now On
Ray Charles – Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music
Bob Dylan – Desire
Soundgarden – Badmotorfinger
Jimi Hendrix – Are You Experienced?

Can one ever get enough of lists like this?  Every time I look at it, I’m reconsidering my choices sayin’ wait, no!  How can I leave out Michael Jackson’s Off the Wall?

The Replacements - Let it BeMatt Ashworth, Corporate Hack 

The Replacements – Let it Be
The Pixies – Doolittle
The Beatles – The White Album
The Clash – London Calling
Magnetic Fields – 69 Love Songs
Neutral Milk Hotel – In the Aeroplane over the Sea
Nirvana – Nevermind
Public Enemy – It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back
Modest Mouse – The Lonesome Crowded West
Beastie Boys – Paul’s Boutique

11 Tied for 11th

Run DMC – Raising Hell
Outkast – Aquemini
The Rolling Stones – Beggar’s Banquet
McLusky – Do Dallas
Pavement – Slanted & Enchanted
Wilco – Yankee Hotel Foxtrot
Afghan Whigs – Gentleman
De La Soul – Is Dead
White Stripes – White Blood Cells
Weezer – Weezer
Old 97s – Too Far to Care
Smashing Pumpkins – Siamese Dream

Ben Allen, Contributor

Wilco – Yankee Hotel Foxtrot
Pinback – Blue Screen Life
Pavement – Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain
Cursive – The Ugly Organ
Sonic Youth – Daydream Nation
Slint – Spiderland
Comets on Fire – Blue Cathedral
Built to Spill – Keep it Like a Secret
Fugazi – The Argument
Modest Mouse – The Lonesome Crowded West

Aaron Burkhalter, Contributor 

Beach Boys – Pet Sounds
Blackalicious – Blazing Arrow
Andrew Bird’s Bowl of Fire –The Swimming Hour
Miles Davis – In A Silent Way
Nick Drake – Pink Moon
Iron and Wine – The Creek Drank the Cradle
Arvo Part – Fur Alina
R.E.M. – New Adventures in Hi-Fi
Velvet Underground – Velvet Underground
Tom Waits – Small Change

The Deleted Scenes (ie, Next Ten)

Neko Case – Furnace Room LullabyBelle and Sebastian – If You’re Feeling Sinister
Neko Case – Furnace Room Lullaby
Johnny Cash – Live at Folsom Prison
Duke Ellington (w/ Charles Mingus and Max Roach) – Money Jungle
Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong – Ella and Louis
Etta James – At Last
The Pixies – Surfer Rosa
Weezer – Weezer
Yo La Tengo – I Can Hear the Heart Beating As One
The Zombies – Odyssey and Oracle


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